Power drill recommendations

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 HB1 16 Feb 2021

Hi all

I've had my B&D drill for 30 years or so. It's VERY basic - no reverse etc. I'm looking for a no-frills, not too expensive drill. If it can adapt to being a screwdriver as well, then that would good. I don't do a lot of DiY (I'm very much a bodge-jobber) but would like not to be frustrated by the limitations I experience at the moment!

I hope to hear!

 cb294 16 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

Buy used! The prices can be ridiculously low, you can get used but serviced power tools from professional craftsmen for less than you pay form some crap supermarket version.

Just make sure it is not fenced goods. I bought a bunch of Makita power tools (power drill, circular saw, battery drill, router) from a joiner who switched over to Festool. Cheap as dirt and since I picked them up at his workshop, unlikely to be stolen.


In reply to HB1:

We buy Royobi at work. We don't use power tools often so we find their stuff perfect. Battery drills have come a long way in the last few years to the point where I doubt I will ever buy a corded drill again. 

 LastBoyScout 16 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

I had a B&D cordless drill until the motor burnt out.

Now have a Makita from Screwfix, as a Christmas present a few years ago.

This any good - https://www.screwfix.com/p/dewalt-dcd778d2t-sfgb-18v-2-0ah-li-ion-xr-brushless-cordless-combi-drill/268fx

In reply to LastBoyScout:

> I had a B&D cordless drill until the motor burnt out.

> Now have a Makita from Screwfix, as a Christmas present a few years ago.

I have an older, heavier, version of that drill. Been using it for the last 8 years or so, shed building, stud walls, plasterboarding, fencing, building new garage doors and garden gates, various seats and planters.

Can't fault it for home DIY use. Only thing I do avoid is a lot of hammer drilling, as this batters them a bit, (or so a mate who's a tradesman told me).

 marsbar 16 Feb 2021
In reply to LastBoyScout:

I'd second the Dewalt, at that price with 2 batteries its perfect for DIY.  

It's a newer version of mine.  

 LastBoyScout 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Ridge:

> Can't fault it for home DIY use. Only thing I do avoid is a lot of hammer drilling, as this batters them a bit, (or so a mate who's a tradesman told me).

Interesting - I've been using the hammer drill on mine a lot, as putting lots of brackets up for hanging baskets and stuff outside and putting other stuff on the garage walls.

In reply to HB1:

I’ve got a cordless, a clutched mains SDS and a pillar drill but my go to every time is the cordless. 

It’s a cheap de walt, came with 2 batteries, charger and case. It’s got the guts to drill holes in brick for plugs no problem, battery charges quickly and of course it’s reversible, screwdriver and hammer. Screwfix did it again! You won’t regret one if you gonna use it often.

 Cobra_Head 16 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

I have an AEG battery drill I bought years ago, it's great and still going strong.

Recently bought a De Walt (for home), with 2 x 5Ah batteries in a  Screwfix sale <£120

Previously I had a Erbaur (sp?) that was also good but old tech i.e. NiCad batteries which won't hold a charge now, and there's no replacements.

You can get adapters now for some brands, so you can use "good" batteries in old drills etc, and give them a new lease of life, but I've not found any for my Erbaur.

Post edited at 13:48
In reply to HB1:

If your house is made of hard stone (granite / gneiss) then the hammer action on most cordless drills won't be man enough, or if they are (e.g. Bosch blue GBH) they're too big and unwieldy to use as a screwdriver.  My DeWalt cordless hammerdrill is good if you don't need to drill hard stone. It's had a lot of hard DIY use since I bought it in ~2000. General consensus is that DeWalt, Makita, and Bosch Blue are the quality brands that will last a DIYer the rest of their lives.

In reply to HB1:

Though we have Ryobi in the workshop my van tools are all Einhell. 


£85 for a decent drill with 13mm chuck, 2 batteries, charger and case. I bought one last month and it seems okay but I have used their impact drivers for years and have yet to break one. 

 nniff 16 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

For DIY, Ryobi works for me.  The one battery for all is handy - the drill came with two.  We have a grass strimmer with a bigger battery, but they all fit each other.  The drill survived being left outside overnight in pouring rain with no apparent ill-effects.  It seems to cope well enough with standard DIY fare of languishing in the garage, unused for months, before getting a right battering for a few days before going back to bed

In reply to HB1:

I’m wondering what your house is made off. When we moved into our present house 20 years back I had what I thought was a beefy 750 watt hammer drill of the rifle rather than pistol shape. This house is stone built of mixed Carboniferous limestone and Lakes volcanics. I was shocked when my hammer drill wouldn’t even drill a hole for a small rawlplug, but would burn out the supposedly top quality masonry bit in short order. The solution was an SDS drill, which is has a real hammer action, in contrast with most so-called hammer drills, which are really a fraud. Someone cleverer than me could explain the difference. 
However, if you don’t have this problem a decent cordless 2 speed hammer drill like  Ryobi will cover all bases. Mine has an adjustable clutch which is really useful for screwdriver use - and 2speed is essential for driving. I think it’s dangerous to drive screws on a high speed as you can easily break bits off the bit which can then fly anywhere.

In reply to Rog Wilko:

> The solution was an SDS drill, which is has a real hammer action, in contrast with most so-called hammer drills, which are really a fraud. Someone cleverer than me could explain the difference. 

Horses for courses, really. I wouldn't use my SDS to drive into my interior masonry walls, my trusty old Bosch PSB1800LI2 (the old version, which is bigger and beefier) does the trick there just fine. OTOH, my outside walls are Wimpey No Fines concrete, anything other than the SDS need not apply.

Post edited at 15:31
 Maggot 16 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

If you're local to M21, I've got an old green Bosch PSB 14.4 VE-2 you could have.  My mate gave it me and it's been languishing in my derelict garage ever since. It did work.
Almost certainly needs a new battery, but it's yours if you come and get it.

General word of warning to the thread: If you're ever driving anything with a good head, say, Torx or hex, do not ever lock the clutch on your drill/driver without good reason. Your wrist won't like it if anything stops it.

What you especially should not do is try and use it, rather than an impact driver, to remove a stuck bolt from your home wall, lean forward to apply more pressure, then have it slip out of your hand, spin around and hit you right in the temple with the battery, nearly knocking you out. That is not nice. 🤣

 HB1 16 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

Thanks all. I will look into the various options. I have time on my hands at the moment obviously, so need to fill those gaps in my life, particularly having just pulled a hamstring out running today!

 colinakmc 16 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

I replaced my old wheezy Bosch cordless about 18 months ago with a deWalt. Scary powerful, does everything my corded Bosch can do too. Only thing is your horizons change and it was joined on the tool rack by a Clarke SDS drill last autumn when I needed to chisel off 15 sq m of tiles from the patio. 
Table saw next.....

 Hooo 16 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

My newest drill is an Erbauer, which appears to be a Screwfix own brand. I'm really impressed with it for the price. I reckon it's better than my previous DeWalt, smaller lighter and more powerful but significantly cheaper.

 Hooo 16 Feb 2021
In reply to Maggot:

Unfortunately a free drill with no battery is probably not a good deal. Every time I've tried to buy a new drill battery it's worked out cheaper to buy a new drill complete with battery than to buy a battery on its own. It's ridiculous but true.

Post edited at 20:55
 Jamie Wakeham 16 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

I have managed to kill a DeWalt cordless, but I suspect this was through significant use of hammer function.  Replaced with a newer version, and that's been faultless for a decade or more.  If I need serious power I switch to a heavy corded drill.

Don't underestimate how nice it is to use decent tools. I've never forgotten the epiphany of getting a DeWalt jigsaw to replace my crappy old one - suddenly cutting in a straight line or smooth curve was so much easier!

 Jasonic 17 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

As recommended above most folks use an 18v combi drill as does everything except concrete!

Something not commonly known is that lithium batteries can catch fire if overcharged- 


In reply to Jasonic:

There is some misleading information there. Lithium Ion batteries have a complex multistage charging process. Leaving one plugged in to a charger designed for it does not overcharge it, in fact it does nothing at all. Chargers for power tool batteries are actually chargers, chargers for devices are not chargers, they are power supplies, the charger circuit is either in the device itself or in the battery packaging. So, the important takeaway is not to buy counterfeit chargers and power supplies and not to use damaged batteries, not that leaving things connected will overcharge them.

 Jasonic 17 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

I bought a makita brushless 7 years ago. Really impressed. I am exhausted before the battery, which only takes 20 mins to charge.

Sits unused for most of the year punctuated by intense DIY flurries. 

I still use my 30 Yr old b&d mains drill for masonry and heavy duty stuff, the cordless can't match it here but for wood, plaster and screwing the cordless nature, weight, and more refined control the makita is great. 

 mwr72 17 Feb 2021
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> I bought a makita brushless 7 years ago. Really impressed. I am exhausted before the battery, which only takes 20 mins to charge.

That will be the 18v 3Ah battery?

> for wood, plaster and screwing the cordless nature, weight, and more refined control the makita is great. 

Makita is great. The vast majority of my tools are the Makita 18v platform.

In reply to mwr72:

> That will be the 18v 3Ah battery?

Think so but the drill is in the garage and I am too comfy to move. 

In reply to Jasonic:

Not sure what the link proves exactly. What I am telling you is fact and something you can verify with a minimum of research on how Lithium Ion batteries work. All of the points it gives are valid, the last one is not for the vast majority of cases people deal with on a day to day basis.

Back in the olden days of people buying loose LiPo and LiIon and chargers for their RC helicopters and things like that, it was certainly possible to buy a dangerous charger that didn't target the correct battery chemistry and the circuits were not as ubiquitous and standardised as they are now. Most people these days have these batteries enclosed in devices, where the charger is a circuit on the device or the battery itself, or as part of a manufacturer's closed system, where the charger is a bespoke piece of hardware the manufacturer sells you.

A functioning lithium charger has the following charging pattern:

  1. Apply a constant charging current until reaching a particular cell voltage. At the end of this stage the battery is charged to 80-85%.
  2. Apply a constant voltage until the charging current levels off and/or reaches a cut off, which is the point of full charge.

Overcharging refers to charging continuing past that point. The battery does not safely tolerate charging continuing past that point, but the only way that can happen is having a broken or wrong charger. There is very little an individual can do to stop a battery from being overcharged, beyond using the correct equipment to start with. The charging circuit itself is designed to detect the end of charge. 

For example, leaving your phone plugged in overnight does *not* overcharge the battery. The USB power supply you connect your phone to powers the phone up, including the charging circuit built into it. Once the battery reaches full charge, the power supply powers the phone, with the battery remaining idle. With some phones, like newer iPhones, the charger actually runs the first stage of the charging process, stops, then runs the second stage an hour or so before your typical wake-up time. That is because batteries left at full charge for prolonged periods of time degrade faster than batteries left at 80% charge.

There has been *tonnes* of misleading information on this topic on the Internet in recent years, with major outlets posting drivel such as not using more powerful USB "chargers" for your phone to avoid overcharging the battery. That is absolutely not how it works. Those "chargers" are power supplies. More powerful or less powerful just changes the maximum current they can provide to your phone. It is the charger, which is built into the phone, that decides how fast to charge the battery. Using a power supply that can provide more current than the charger wants to use does absolutely nothing at all. Using a power supply that can provide less current will make the charger use a lower charging current, hence slowing down charge. In extreme circumstances, it will result in the phone not charging at all, because it is not getting enough current to drive its own electronics and the charger at the same time.

Back to tool batteries, where this applies more:

  1. Buy a reputable manufacturer's stuff.
  2. Don't eBay for batteries or chargers. Yeah the official stuff costs more but what you get is a guarantee that is is all matched.
  3. All tool chargers I have come across have a charge full indicator. Leaving the battery plugged in beyond that will not overcharge the battery, that indicator is driven by the charging circuit having detected full charge. If the battery never appears to reach that point, either the battery or the charger is dead or damaged. Find out which, and discard as appropriate.
  4. More high end equipment has temperature and battery health monitoring on the battery itself. This will change the charging current to prolong the life of the  battery.
  5. These days, the circuitry is so standard that even worrying counterfeit crap has the same charger chips as the good stuff, but quality assurance is non-existent so better not risk it without a very good reason.

Everything else the link states is good information: Don't overheat your devices. Don't overheat your batteries. Don't overheat your chargers. Don't use batteries that are mechanically damaged or appear to be damaged in any other way (like feeling TOO hot without that big a load on them.

This "do not overcharge" stuff, as if the user has much of a say in that, needs to be put to sleep.

Post edited at 13:08
 Jasonic 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Alkis:

Hi- I use battery tools for a living so perhaps over cautious !

There was a fire on the London Underground caused by lithium batteries catching fire-

Also this, on a US  contractors forum;


In reply to Jasonic:

Yeah, just to clarify, I'm not saying you should not be cautious with batteries, just that overcharging is basically never the root cause, it's a symptom of a broken system. That thread is a pretty good example of problems with using subpar stuff. People are talking about generic chargers, generic batteries, basically unsuitable combinations of equipment. Hell, people are mentioning generic batteries smoking as they are being charged. Overcharging and a resulting catastrophic failure from that is a symptom of subpar, wrong and/or damaged equipment. I would not trust a charger/battery combination that is unable to complete a charge cycle as specified for the battery to charge to *any* percentage, even if you have it on a timer to stop early.

Being cautious is fine, overcharging is never something you should have to avoid through manual actions of your own, you should throw away any equipment that you suspect is misbehaving. If the charger cannot detect the end of the charging cycle I would question whether it even provides the right charging current at all, you don't need an overcharge condition for the battery to blow up. Likewise, if a battery is unable to be charged correctly I would not be using that battery, they hold enough energy to blow up without being on a charger (see what happened with the faulty batteries of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7).

Post edited at 23:12
In reply to HB1:

Cordless, the long term problem is that the batteries eventually degrade and don't hold as much charge. And by then quality replacements are hard to come by. They've changed the voltage or the technology, etc.

That's my current Ryobi 14.4v problem, I have to charge both batteries before doing anything significant even if they were charged a couple of days ago.

I had a similar buying dilemma with hedge trimmers. Realised that if I wanted to go cordless then I should avoid cheap and pay for quality. Decided to go for cheap corded. I've only had to rewire my £25 Argos purchase with 1m shorter cord once - so far 😁 

Post edited at 07:35
 Iamgregp 19 Feb 2021
In reply to HB1:

I'm late to the party here, but nobody's mentioned Milwaukee.  I picked up a combi drill on offer at Toolstation when we bought our house and there hasn't been a job it hasn't been able to handle (though like you, I'm just an occasional; light DIY-er.  They're not the cheapest but if you see something on special or reduced they're worth a look.

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